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Jay Bruce or Shin-Soo Choo in center for the Reds?

Dec 12, 2012, 8:22 AM EST

Jay Bruce

I like the big Reds-Indians-Diamondbacks trade from the Reds’ perspective. That lineup is gonna be stacked now and they have to be everyone’s favorite in the NL Central.

One of the points of concern, however, is what the Reds would do with their outfield defense. The team doesn’t have a natural center fielder now and Choo has actually turned into a below average right fielder in the past couple of years.  How is he gonna handle center field?

ESPN’s Jim Bowden, however, says it’s not a question of how Choo will handle center. It’s a matter of how Jay Bruce will:

 

Bruce is younger and has actually played more center field in his career than Choo has. Thirty five games there to Choo’s ten, although all 35 of those came way back in 2008. In the minors Bruce spent the majority of his time in center field — 205 of his 325 career minor league games. Choo spent 151 of his 600+ minor league games in center.

Not saying Bruce will look great out there, but he may be the better option.

  1. mt99808 - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    One of Rasmus, Gose, Bonifacio, Davis suddenly become trade targets?

    • paperlions - Dec 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Why? The downgrade in offense would be far greater than the upgrade in defense.

  2. prosourcetalk - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Call up Billy Hamilton!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      The shortstop?

      • prosourcetalk - Dec 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Former shortstop. They’re moving him to CF to fast track him to the majors:

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/10/04/reds-moving-speedster-prospect-billy-hamilton-to-outfield/

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        I apparently need to update my Rolodex. Thank you

  3. Old Gator - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Gezundtheit.

    • watchfullhose - Dec 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      Baking Powder

  4. spudchukar - Dec 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Jay Bruce is a slightly above average right fielder, with a very good throwing arm. Move him to center and he becomes a liability. In the final analysis perhaps Ludwig would be the better option, not that he would excel, but he does have experience there. The truth is all three are comparable options and the Reds will suffer, and at times greatly by the lack of a true center fielder.

    • jwbiii - Dec 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      It won’t be as bad as the Dunn/Griffey/Kearns outfield.

      • spudchukar - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Perhaps that is true cause Dunn is awful and Kearns isn’t an upgrade over any of the current three. But Griffey, even in his later years is a better option is center. With no one to run down balls in the gap, the Reds will pay for the uptick in offense. Shoo had better excel or this deal may not improve the Reds chances in 2013.

  5. jm91rs - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    They clearly made the decision that Stubbs’ offensive liabilities outweighed his stellar defense. To say the team will suffer greatly due to the loss of a true center fielder seems like a terrible overreaction. You’re talking about taking a guy who would have been a lousy 7th or 8th hitter and replacing him with a very serviceable lead off hitter. The Reds excelled at defense at nearly every position last year, putting a guy average or below average in center, where most of his games will be played in the small outfield of GABP, shouldn’t do much damage.

    Aren’t there defensive metrics that will show the difference?

    • spudchukar - Dec 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Not any that make any sense. But when the Reds play in spacious St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta and Los Angeles, all contenders, they will suffer greatly.

      • jm91rs - Dec 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        I feel confident that there are stat geek numbers (not that I would even understand them) that will show offense and defense of Choo is more valuable to a team the the combined numbers of Stubbs.

        You’re acting like there are many plays every game that require a speedster like Stubbs to track down. If that were the case there would be many teams suffering on defense because not many had players with Stubbs’ speed.

        They suffered greatly with Stubbs’ miserable on base percentage. I don’t have the numbers but I believe that Choo’s is a full 100 points better than Stubbs. To give up some range for 100 points better obp, give me that every day of the week.

        The only people that will not like this trade in Cincinnati either hate Choo for some reason, or are still in love with Drew Stubbs’ potential (the guy seemed to get worse every year, time to stop waiting for him to wake up).

  6. bailey2626 - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    “Choo posted a minus-17 UZR and minus-12 DRS in right field last year, but he has historically rated high in the metrics and in reputation. But Choo doesn’t have to be good or even average in center field to be an overall upgrade versus Stubbs. Choo was 46 runs better at the plate than Stubbs in 2012 and 120 runs better over the past four seasons combined.” http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/what-the-reds-covet-in-shin-soo-choo/

    • spudchukar - Dec 12, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Which A) goes to show you how much UZR metrics still have to grow. B) Let’s say Choo brings 50 more runs to Cincy, 2013; then having him in center field will not cause 1 run every 3 games over the course of a season. I’m not sure I would make that bet. C) I could be wrong on this, but does FanGraphs factor in Stubbs SB and base running prowess in their runs projections? Food for thought.

      • jm91rs - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        Stubbs is fast but by no means a base stealer.

        You’re saying that you think Choo’s defense is so bad that it costs the Reds one run every 3 games? I haven’t played baseball in 10 years and I’m confident I wouldn’t cost a team that many runs defensively.

      • spudchukar - Dec 12, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        I guess you have the right to define baseball players as you choose, but facts do not back up your contentions. First, Drew Stubbs finished 9th in 2012 in SB’s with 30 in the NL. In 2011 he finished 2nd in the NL with 40. And he has always maintained one of the best SB percentages, above 80%.

        It has been 30 years since I played CF, and I can guarantee you that no matter how effective you might have been, today you would cost the Reds at least 50 runs a year if you took over as their everyday center fielder in 2013, if you have not donned a uniform in 10 years.

        Consider this, one ball in the gap with the bases loaded that Stubbs cuts off that Choo cannot get to. One blooper opening an inning that Stubbs nabs that falls in front of Choo. One base runner who dares not advance on a ball Stubbs gets to. I could go on for a while, but a defender of Stubbs quality is rare. It seems to me that Stubbs failures are magnified, and his assets are diminished.

        Lastly, I am a Cards fan, and the last thing I want is what is best for the Reds. The thought of Choo or Bruce manning the OF in St. Louis warms my heart. I’ve watched Stubbs rob Cards of runs for 3 years, and I guarantee it happens once every series.

  7. jl9830 - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Don’t make me laugh. Dusty doesn’t evaluate players- he uses his gut.

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